Regardless of whether you like it or not, the unmistakable “wub-wub” can be heard almost everywhere. The dubstep genre is now a decade old and still gaining momentum, making it, in my mind the strongest musical influence on our generation. But I use the word “musical” loosely. Dubstep is as much music as scat is poetry.
The trademark element of dubstep would probably be the inharmonic incorporation of drastically manipulated sound. However trying to describe this genre is about as ineffable trying to describe music. Dubstep relies on nothing concrete. It breaks its own rules as much as those of its more conventional predecessors.
Bro-step, crunk-step, jump-step and funk-step are the insane attempts to re-label dub to account for originality in the medium every time an artist does something a little bit different. But do we really need all these steps?
Dubstep, or any step really, is what it isn’t. Ask someone, “What is dubstep?” and watch as they sour the English language before inevitably breaking down into onomatopoeia. Hilarious as it may be, the indescribable nature of dubstep makes it so that every experimental musician out there capable of making noise can also be a dubstep artist.
Dubstep is more a phase in artistic expression that encourages a lack of inhibition than an actual musical style. The formlessness of noise utilized by dubstep is in essence uncharacterizeable as music. It’s like trying to describe the shape of water.
Dance styles have erupted that otherwise wouldn’t have a musical analog; orchestras have performed electronic-sounding music without electricity, and bad auto-tunes of cats are now rampant on the Internet. All in the name of dubstep.
This departure from convention is usually reserved for the fringe of society-the bizarre sector of the artistic community. Dubstep has brought these progressives to the forefront of mainstream culture, where they engage a much larger sector of the public. The idea of talent is changing just as much as the music. There’s no way to tell if something will be received well or not because traditional perceptions of skill are antiquated.
Musical inclination or not does not predict the success of a dubstep artist. The poster boy for American bro-step and the dubstep community as a whole, Skrillex, revealed in an interview with the “Washington Post” that his musical background consisted almost entirely of teenage punk bands. Composition has changed entirely. Reading music may be a useless skill in the future when notes are simply sound waves on a graph.
Anyone who is inclined to do so may make remixes of any sound they want with a simple computer program. This new stage in musical evolution is heading toward a more collective experience of experimentation, where what’s “good” and what’s considered “music” is constantly tested.